Know How / Soils

Expert advice on how to assess soil health and improve it to raise crop yields. Find out when to test your soil and how to interpret the test results. Improve the structure of your soil by encouraging earthworms, adding organic matter, improving drainage and growing cover crops.

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DISEASE MANAGEMENT

How tackling take-all can lift winter barley yields

There is a common perception that growers don’t need to use any control measures for take-all when growing winter barley. However, experts believe there is now a growing case. Changes in barley management…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

The best way to manage stubbles after harvest

Unless you are one of a growing number of no-tillers or you plough every year, it is difficult to be prescriptive when it comes to post-harvest cultivation strategy. There is…

DISEASE MANAGEMENT

Analysis: Can farmers be less reliant on fungicides?

Cereal growers looking to reduce their growing costs are increasingly questioning the need for four-spray fungicide programmes. With the focus on many farms shifting to soil health and sustainable farming…

NUTRITION AND FERTILISER

Why soil N testing could save you cash this spring

Last season's unusual weather has led to more variation in soil nitrogen reserves and testing soils this spring will help farmer avoid wasting fertiliser. Most growers were unable to apply…

NUTRITION AND FERTILISER

How early N fertiliser reduces the cost of summer drought

Many cereal growers will be looking to front-load their nitrogen fertiliser applications this spring after last summer's heatwave was blamed for limited uptate of the nutrient, which hit yields. Earlier…

DISEASE MANAGEMENT

How the potato industry can tackle blackleg

Blackleg is a costly disease in potatoes caused by several pectolytic bacteria that have the ability to infect and break down plant tissue, leading to storage losses and crop rejections.…

Case studies

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SOILS

Farmer invents tyre pressure system to help soil health

Ontario farmer Jake Kraayenbrink has invented his own auto-inflation system to keep tyres at the optimum pressure, lowering the risk of soil damage. It just takes him a few seconds…

SOILS

Three Canadian farmers reveal their secrets to soil health

Heavy soils, late harvested crops like soya and a yearly rainfall exceeding 1,000mm is the perfect combination for compaction, which is why southern Ontario farmers focus so much on soil…

SOILS

Potato grower increases worm numbers with cover crops

A Shropshire grower is trying to limit the damaging effect of heavy cultivations for potato crops to his light soils through the use of cover crops. He has seen worm…

PEST MANAGEMENT

How a grower uses cultivations and tech to kill slugs

Slugs have been a major headache for North Yorkshire grower Graham Potter since he switched from a plough-based crop establishment system to direct drilling. But with proactive implementation of integrated…

SOILS

Grower slashes inputs with soils focus and variety blends

An interest in soil health was the starting point for major changes made to Angus Gowthorpe’s mixed farming system in Yorkshire, the results of which have slashed establishment time and…

CEREALS

Cereals 2019: What UK growers can learn from global pioneers

The Farmers Weekly theatre at this year’s Cereals event in Lincolnshire showcased three farmers and an agronomist from around the world who are pushing the boundaries of crop production. Advice…

Insights

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DRILLING

Video: High-pressure water tech aids direct drilling success

Replacing drill coulters with a high-pressure jet to open up the soil will not only improve germination, its inventors believe it can aid rooting by cracking compaction and aerating soils.…

ROTATIONS

Why herbal leys have been added to arable rotation trial

The benefits of adding sugar beet and herbal leys in arable rotations are being investigated in a long-term rotational study in Suffolk, reflecting the changing challenges faced by growers.  After…

ESTABLISHMENT

On-farm establishment trial shows best system in a dry year

Dry conditions for the second year in a row have highlighted the importance of establishment method. Systems which allowed crops to get their roots down in search of moisture were…

ARABLE

Can arable farming and wildlife conservation work together?

Farming is coming under greater pressure to halt the decline in wildlife. A major government project hopes to provide some of the answers in coming years, by balancing greater diversity with…

CROP MANAGEMENT

How farmers can help prevent 'mass extinction' of pollinators

Arable farming needs to change in order to halt declines in biodiversity and prevent one of the worst mass extinction events in history, a leading US entomologist has warned. Bold…

POTATOES

Are 100t/ha potato crops possible?

Potato yields in the UK appear to be faltering and one expert believes a yield competition like that seen with wheat could help the sector get closer to three-digit yield…

Latest soils news

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ESTABLISHMENT

Two growers find no-tillage success in dry and wet soils

Flexibility is the key to success for two no-tillage converts who farms very different arable areas – in some of the driest and wettest areas of Britain.  Simon Cowell has…

SOILS

Adas warns farmers over soil test rules

Adas has warned farmers not to overlook a legal requirement to carry out soil testing. The stipulation is included in Defra’s Farming Rules for Water, which were introduced in 2018.…

SOILS

Compaction and erosion ‘a serious threat’ to UK farm soils

About 6m hectares of farm soils in England and Wales are at risk of compaction or erosion, according to an Environment Agency (EA) study. Intensive agriculture has caused arable soils…

Soils in Practice

Soils in Practice is a one-day conference to discuss the latest advances in soil fertility and best practice in soil management. It brings together experts and industry professionals to help farmers take some of the practical steps towards soil health.
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Video

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DRILLING

Video: High-pressure water tech aids direct drilling success

Replacing drill coulters with a high-pressure jet to open up the soil will not only improve germination, its inventors believe it can aid rooting by cracking compaction and aerating soils.…

SOILS

Drainage contractor splashes £400k on state-of-the-art plough

Mastenbroek has built its first UK-bound trenchless drainage plough in more than thirty years for Warwickshire-based Farm Services, which is keen to satisfy a resurgent number of farmers requesting field-scale…

SUGAR BEET

Video: Sugar beet drilling starts as growers play catch-up

Sugar beet drilling is racing ahead between the rain showers on light land with one Suffolk Brecklands estate looking to catch up from its latest start in more than a…

BLACKGRASS

Video: The plan that battered blackgrass in 12 months

Three Cambridgeshire growers are fighting back against a heavy yield penalty imposed by blackgrass with a new establishment system and have seen a dramatic turnaround in just 12 months. Declining…